Spring Cleaning for Your Plate

Ease out of winter's heavier fare with energizing plant-based recipes, perfect for Sunday brunch.

A few sparkling rays of sunshine in the waning winter months and we head to the storage closet to dust off flip-flops and Frisbees. Warm weather wanderlust is natural down the homestretch into a new season, but do you get the same urge to brush aside cold weather dishes like braises and casseroles for lighter fare?

Swapping stick-to-your-ribs staples for plant-based, dairy-free meals can help ease you out of cozy, hibernating winter mode and into energized, spring awakening mode. Bonus: my favorite “spring cleaning” recipes work wonders in a Sunday brunch line-up and weekday snack stock alike.

Open-Face Cucumber Tahini Sandwiches

Plant-based spreads and salads gussy up raw veggies and sandwiches, convincing even the most rigid of meat-loving palates of their place at the table. Creamy Tofu Salad opens in a new tab models itself on that silky and filling spring favorite, egg salad. Call on a savory miso-spiked tahini spread opens in a new tab or the subtly sweet Carrot Cashew Spread opens in a new tab as needed for entertaining and school lunches.

Using culinary con artists like applesauce, dates and mashed bananas in place of sugar and oil can easily transition cakes and cookies from special treats to anytime snacks. These Carrot Walnut Cookies opens in a new tab, Whole Wheat Cornbread Muffins opens in a new tab, and Banana-Cocoa Snack Cake opens in a new tab take full advantage of the fruity stand-ins.

Smoothies are always a good time. Adding protein (Strawberry Almond Butter Smoothie opens in a new tab) and flax seed oil (Blueberry Muffin Smoothie opens in a new tab) ensures the fruit-filled drinks satisfy more than your sweet tooth.

What are your favorite spring-ahead recipes and ingredients? Any tips for lightening winter’s table?

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